12 of the Best Drugstore Bronzers Under $25

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You don’t have to go on vacation to get sun-kissed skin—just a couple swipes of bronzer will do the trick. And while that may sound easy enough, we know that finding the right bronzer for your skin tone and price point can be difficult. That’s why we’ve compiled the best drugstore bronzers ranging from light to dark and everything in between. Oh, and did we mention they are all under $25?

Looking for a matte finish to deepen your existing tan? Or is a shimmery powder more what you’re after? Whatever your preference—a full-on tan or just a bit of a glow—these drugstore bronzers will instantly transform dull skin into a luminous I-just-got-back-from-vacation complexion. Simply brush a bit on your cheeks, forehead, and the bridge of your nose, et voilà.

Read on for our picks of the best drugstore bronzers.

Best Overall: Rimmel Natural Bronzer

Rimmel Natural Bronzer
What We Like
  • Long-wearing

  • Customizable

  • Waterproof

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean or cruelty-free

This warm-toned bronzer is a drugstore staple, full stop. Wear semi-sheer for everyday use or layer it on for a deeply bronzed effect. The powder's formula also claims to be waterproof with a wear of up to 10 hours, which are just a few of the reasons why we love it so.

Coverage Level: Sheer to full | Finish: Natural | Shades: 4 | Size: 0.5 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Runner-Up, Best Overall: CoverGirl TruBlend Minerals Bronzer

CoverGirl TruBlend Minerals Bronzer

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Gives skin a glow

  • Baked for a silky texture

  • Blends into skin seamlessly

What We Don't Like
  • A little pricey

A blend of micro-fine pigments, this golden brown bronzer from Covergirl adds radiance to the skin thanks to a subtle dose of shimmer.

Coverage Level: Sheer | Finish: Shimmer | Shades: 1 | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Matte: Nyx Professional Makeup Matte Bronzer

NYX Matte Bronzer

Courtesy of Ulta 

What We Like
  • Matte without looking too dry

  • Shades look natural

  • Works well for contouring

What We Don't Like
  • Contains parabens

With five different shades, all perfectly mixed to mimic a real tan, NYX Professional Makeup's matte bronzer gives off a realistic glow.

Coverage Level: Full | Finish: Matte | Shades: 3 | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Value: Maybelline New York City Bronzer Powder Makeup

Maybelline New York City Bronzer Powder Makeup

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Blends easily

  • Works well for contouring

  • Matte without looking too dry

What We Don't Like
  • Shades are on the lighter side

Formulated with finely milled pigments and whipped cocoa butter, this bronzer has a super soft matte finish that makes it look (and feel!) much more expensive than it actually is. Plus, it doubles as a contour powder, so the possibilities for elevating your look are endless.

Coverage Level: Full | Finish: Soft-matte | Shades: 3 | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Streak-Free: Milani Baked Bronzer

Milani Baked Bronzer

Courtesy of Milani

What We Like
  • Baked for a silky texture

  • Gives skin a glow

  • Vegan

What We Don't Like
  • Could be longer-lasting

We're already big fans of Milani's highlighter here at Byrdie, so it's no surprise that this bronzer delivers a similar lit-from-within glow. Baked on Italian terracotta tiles, it comes in three shades and goes on streak-free for a warm, natural finish.

Coverage Level: Sheer | Finish: Shimmer | Shades: 3 | Size: 0.3 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Fair Skin: Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzer

Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzer

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Melts into skin

  • Pretty packaging

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more pigmented

This cool-toned bronzer may be great for fair skin tones who are afraid of looking orange. Just make sure not to drop the product (it will lift out of the pan), but at this price point, it's a total steal.

Coverage Level: Sheer | Finish: Shimmer | Shades: 2 | Size: 0.4 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Deep Skin: Physician’s Formula Murmuru Butter Bronzer

Physicians formula

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Blends easily

  • Melts into skin

  • Smells great

  • Six shades available

What We Don't Like
  • A little pricey

A beauty-editor favorite, the cushiony creamy texture of this bronzer makes it super blendable, allowing for a lovely natural finish. Plus, it smells delicious.

Coverage Level: Light | Finish: Dewy | Shades: 6 | Size: 0.4 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best With Brush: Pixi Beauty Beauty Bronzer + Kabuki

pixi by petra bronzer and kabuki

Courtesy of Pixi Beauty

What We Like
  • Includes kabuki brush

  • A little goes a long way

  • Natural-looking shades

What We Don't Like
  • A little pricey

Pixi's bronzer in the color Summertime is a great drugstore option for those with fair to light skin. However, we recommend applying said bronzer with a light hand, as a little goes a long way.

Coverage Level: Full | Finish: Natural | Shades: 4 | Size: 0.4 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Cream: W3LL PEOPLE Bio Bronzer Cream Stick

W3ll People Bio Bronzer Stick

Courtesy of W3ll People

What We Like
  • Melts into skin

  • Blends easily

  • Long-wearing

What We Don't Like
  • A little pricey

If you're looking for a bronzer that will last from morning till night, try a cream bronzer like W3ll People's stick. Not only does this bronzer claim to have major staying power, but it also blends in for a realistic, sun-kissed finish.

Coverage Level: Full | Finish: Natural | Shades: 1 | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Shimmer: L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Bronze It Bronzer

L'oreal's True Match Lumi Bronze It Bronzer
What We Like
  • Gives skin a glow

  • Natural-looking shades

  • Buildable

What We Don't Like
  • Strong scent

For a sun-kissed glow ASAP, snag this bronzer from L'Oreal, which has a slight shimmer that never looks unnatural or overwhelming. Plus, it's formulated in three shades for light, medium, and deep skin tones.

Coverage Level: Sheer to full | Finish: Shimmer | Shades: 3 | Size: 0.4 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Quad: e.l.f. Cosmetics Bronzer

elf bronzer

Courtesy of elf Cosmetics  

What We Like
  • Customizable

  • Shades can be mixed

  • Includes both matte and shimmer finishes

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for acne-prone skin

Create a natural glow with this 4-in-1 bronzer compact that is neither dark nor light. Simply add to your face's high points for a glow befitting vacation.

Coverage Level: Sheer to full | Finish: Matte, shimmer | Shades: 2 | Size: 0.6 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What To Look For in a Drugstore Bronzer

Shade

Make sure you choose a bronzer shade that works well with your skin tone to avoid looking orange or creating any harsh lines. Opt to find a bronzer shade that mimics your skin tone when you're tan—and try to make sure it's not too dark or too light. Make sure you check the undertones of the bronzer as well as this can be crucial in finding the right one.

Texture

Do you tend to go for powder formulas or cream? Take what texture you love using into consideration before purchasing. Generally, creams tend to give off a more dewy finish whereas powders are more matte. Both yield the same result, but give off different appearances.

FAQ
  • What is the use of bronzer?

    Bronzer is typically used to help our skin look sun-kissed or tan. Depending on the shade, it may also be used to contour.

  • Can you use bronzer to contour?

    If it's applied correctly, bronzer can be used as a contour. Rather than swiping the bronzer all over, hone in on specific areas (like beneath your cheekbones, around your jawlines, and your nose) with an angled brush to contour.

  • What brush should you use for bronzer?

    Before you purchase a bronzer brush, take a moment to consider what you plan to use the bronzer for. For an all-over glow, use a fluffy powder brush to make sure you get even bronzer coverage—without any harsh lines or streakiness. If you're looking to use your bronzer to contour, opt for an angled brush.

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